Posted on March 19, 2019 by Tourism HR Canada
Tourism Labour Market Forum 2019 Over 70 tourism stakeholders from across Canada gathered in Ottawa on March 6 and 7, 2019, to examine the skills and labour issues hindering the growth of the sector and strategize on multiple initiatives to strengthen its future.
Hosted by Tourism HR Canada at the Delta Hotels by Marriott Ottawa City Centre, the event is a key part of the organization’s aim to create a more resilient and inclusive labour market. Delegates represented the many groups influencing tourism’s success, including business, education, labour, industry associations, and government.
A complex interplay of key drivers—political, economic, social/cultural—inform the policies and programs that focus on labour supply, skills, or mobility. An aging population, a growing global middle class, soaring interest in Indigenous tourism, misconceptions of tourism employment, housing costs, and immigration are among the many aspects influencing Canada’s tourism sector.
In the past year, the Government of Canada has invested in new programs to help the tourism sector address its labour challenges and support the 1.8 million individuals working in it. Delegates learned about the following initiatives, including opportunities to get involved:
Destination Employment: helping newcomers to gain meaningful employment in Canadian hotels and hoteliers to navigate a tight labour market
Future Skills Framework: addressing skills gaps and mismatches in tourism
Foundational Labor Market Information System: conducting research and analysis to minimize labour imbalances and ensure the sector is globally competitive and innovative
LGBT+ Inclusion Workshops: offering free training to boost Canada’s reputation as a welcoming and diverse destination
Tourism HR Canada framed the labour crisis, sharing in-depth research and analysis of the labour market. Currently, Canada’s unemployment rate is 5.8%, the lowest since 1976. The tourism sector’s unemployment rate is 4.9%; it has been consistently lower than the total Canadian economy since 2009. Just under 100,000 tourism jobs went unfilled between 2010 and 2017. Current projections show another 145,000 could go unfilled by 2035. With the increase to Canada’s immigration intakes announced in late 2017, the sector may benefit from as many as 85,000 jobs being filled by newcomers. The remaining labour shortfall, however, still prevents Canada from gaining a much larger share of the global tourism market and increasing its global standing and competitiveness.